Ai Weiwei's mother Gao Ying views her son's artwork S.A.C.R.E.D. at the Venice Biennale - photo by Marguerite Horner

Ai Weiwei's mother Gao Ying opens his Venice show

Gao Ying appears shaken at opening of Venice Biennale show S.A.C.R.E.D. depicting her son's incarceration

Ai Weiwei's mother Gao Ying, turned up to the opening of his new exhibit in Venice, this morning. Gao, who's in her early eighties attended in lieu of her son who the Chinese authorities refuse to allow to travel. She has been one of her son's most vocal supporters and has accused officials of hounding her son, describing their approach as "creepy, crooked and evil".



According to reports, 82-year-old Gao was visibly upset as she observed Ai Weiwei's new installation which consists of six, scaled-down dioramas that recreate the exact interior of the prison cell in which he was incarcerated for 81 days in 2011. Ai has said he made the artworks over the course of a year-and- a-half as a way of overcoming the trauma of his incarceration. 



Each scene is housed in a two-and-a-half ton iron box. The viewer climbs up on a block to peer inside through a letterbox shaped slot, creating a sense of voyeurism or surveillance. S.A.C.R.E.D. was created in secret and transported from China to Venice's Church of Sant'Antonin.